In this week’s edition of The Western Producer you will find a story about anhydrous ammonia tank regulations and a federal government that has been acting too slowly to meet the realities we face down on the farm.
You will also read about what our editorial board feels is the government’s too-slow response to rail service issues.
But, to be fair, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the new Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership have been taking up a lot of time for the bureaucracy and those items are important to the bigger picture.
However, farm bills get paid in the smaller picture, so the grain has to move and fertilizer has to get into the ground or there won’t be as much grain to move next year.
It takes a lot of luck to remain a western Canadian farmer for any length of time. The really successful ones get 40 tries at it. But many don’t get past 10 because the margins are too low and if their luck bucket runs out in the wrong year, then the farming world struggles on without them.
Those buckets get filled with missed hail storms, well-timed rainfall, frosts that skipped over, seeds that were planted late or early, combines that didn’t catch fire, tractors without electrical issues, chemicals that didn’t stay too long in the soil, insects that arrived too late and staff that stuck it out until the end of the season. The agriculture luck-list is long and most of the luck is handmade on the farm.
So, one big thing that government can do to help develop the agriculture and food sector is to improve our farmers’ luck.
Before new federal investments in science and entrepreneurism can have any real effect, the government needs to embrace their own budget’s message about growing the industry.
The best place to start is with the farm luck they control, such as being able to move grain into a warming market — see our editorial on page 10. Or farmers must be able to use any available cash to grow bigger crops, rather than scrambling to buy new gear to put crop nutrients into the ground due to failed regulatory implementation — see our story on page 50.
Politicians need luck too. But right now, out West, they don’t seem to be making as much of it as they could.